Change a life


 Spent a bit of time away from my guys this past weekend - first time ever being away from them both (at the same time) that I can recall!  Went to Atlanta with a group of 50-something gals from church to the Women of Faith Conference, where we heard several wonderful speakers:  Patsy Clairmont,  Andy Andrews, Anita Renfroe and MaryBeth Chapman to name a few.  Oh!  And music.  MUSIC!!  Oh my!! 
Mandisa - girl!  She is full of awesomesauce! 
Sandi Patti - no words can begin to describe the talent. 
And best of all:  Steven Curtis Chapman.  Oh my heart just breaks with the beauty of the words and music he makes.

While at the conference, I learned about a program called World Vision.  We saw a very moving video about a woman who, through WV, had sponsored a child in Ethiopia.  This video and the words spoken afterward led me to make the decision to help out a child too.  I made my way to the World Vision table.  There,  I stood for a few minutes looking at the many, many photos of children from all parts of the globe that so need our help.  Many had eyes that were much older than their age.  In those eyes, I saw hopelessness and fear;   things no child should ever have to experience.

I asked for a child near Ben's age because I can't bear the thought that there are children out there, not much different than my baby, who are hungry or scared or hopeless.   So, after a few minutes of searching, I found our sponsor child.  He's 6 years old; he lives in Brazil with his mother and 4 siblings.  His name is Ruan.  

I came home with his profile in a folder, waiting for the right time to bring it up.  I want this to be something that I can do with Ben, to teach him how very blessed we are (he is) and so that he will know that not everyone is as fortunate.   Greg went upstairs to play his guitar (probably looking for a little down-time -- being the only entertainment to a very active son for the weekend will certainly wear a guy out!!)  I sat my sweet little boy next to me on the couch and told him I wanted to talk to him about something very important.  He sat still, listening as I told him about a little boy named Ruan that lives in Brazil.  We read his profile together.   We looked at his picture and we talked about the fact that Ruan and Ben are the same age, and probably likes to do some of the same things he does; but the big difference is that where our family has so much, his family has very little.
I asked him, "You know how when we go to the store, you sometimes say, 'Mama can I have this toy' and most of the time, I'll say yes?  Well, Ruan's Mom - even though she'd love to - probably can't do that."  

Then, after reading in the profile about Ruan's lack of food, I explained, "You know how when you ask me if you can have a snack after school, and I say sure?  Then you go to the cupboard and get whatever snack you want?  Well, Ruan isn't able to do that either because his family isn't able to afford much more than rice and beans."

I know that he probably doesn't entirely comprehend why he's able to have everything he needs/desires, when this little boy isn't,  but I know he got it.   As soon as I told him we were going to be sponsoring Ruan by sending our money to help, he got up and ran to his bedroom.  He went to his piggybank and brought back a handful of change and a dollar.  He said, "Can I send this?  Will this help?" 

I'd told Ben that one of the great things about sponsoring Ruan was that he could write letters and even send pictures to him.   So, we got out paper and pencil and these are the words Ben wrote to his new friend:

     Dear Ruan,
          My name is Ben.  I am six years old.   I live in Georgia.  That is in the United States. 
     We want to help you.  God loves you so much.  Please write me back.
     From:  Ben

Words written from my little boys heart, to another little boy half a world away. 

If you'd like to know more about World Vision, here's the link:
I can't wait to get started.  

"And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me."  Matthew 18:5 (NIV)


This snippet of conversation heard Saturday morning between Nana and Ben, on our way to Ben's Very First Ever(!) football game.  Topic?  Obviously: the upcoming game.   

Nana asked Ben, "Did you know your Daddy was a football player?" 

Ben:  "But I thought he was an Engineer!"



There will come a day, I know, where I won't be as needed as I am now.  I see glimpses of the future from time to time:  Mr. Independent has been showing up more and more frequently at our house of late.   But occasionally, I'm still needed. 

My schedule at work allows me to be off on Monday and Friday (yeah, I know:  how awesome is that?) so, those days I get to take the short one to school.   I really enjoy being able to do that; I get to talk to him about his day, make plans for the evening, and most importantly - get a last minute hug and kiss that, I hope, will go with him all day.  

This morning was no different.  As we broke several speeding laws drove to the school, I told him I wasn't sure if I'd be able to walk him in (because we were running a little bit late and I'd have to find a place to park and I just didn't know if we'd make it in time, and, and, and!)    As it happened, we made excellent time driving like a bat out of hell.  As I was about to turn into the school entrance, he asked me if we were late.  I said no, we've got plenty of time (booyah!).  Then, the sweetest question:  Do we have time for you to walk me in? 
Oh, absolutely, sweetie!  

I'm still needed.  Whew.

"In all our contacts it is probably the sense of being really needed and wanted which gives us the greatest satisfaction and creates the most lasting bond."
Eleanor Roosevelt